San Francisco's 30 years of women in the fire service: The stories, struggles and triumphs
There were a total of seven women in the SFFD in 1987; now, there are 285 uniformed women in the department
In 1987, there were a total of seven women divided among two San Francisco Fire Department academy classes. One of the seven was Shelia Hunter — the only African-American in the class.
Thirty years later, Hunter, who served two years as a captain of backgrounds and investigations, is now surrounded by 285 uniformed women in the department.
After her recent return to the field as a lieutenant at Station 33, Hunter said she stays inspired by working within the community and helping people.
"Seeing the faces of children and adults when they see not only a female firefighter, but an African-American female firefighter … when they give the thumbs up, it makes me feel really good," she said.